Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Statement

BBC denies Iran media reports alleging detention of staffers

The BBC is aware of reports in the Iranian media alleging that persons working for the BBC Persian service have been arrested in Iran.

The BBC would like to stress that the six filmmakers currently detained in Iran are not BBC staffers. The individuals in question are independent documentary filmmakers whose films have been screened in festivals and other venues internationally. As is common practice for the channel's documentary showcase programme, BBC Persian television bought the rights to broadcast these films.

Liliane Landor, Controller, Languages, BBC Global News, said: "It is common practice for television channels to buy broadcast rights to independent films. This is certainly the case with the BBC Persian whose acclaimed documentary showcase buys the broadcast rights to tens of documentaries form independent Iranian filmmakers each year.  These films were independently produced and had not been commissioned by BBC Persian."

Ms Landor went on to say: "We consider this to be part of ongoing efforts by the Iranian government to put pressure on the BBC for the impartial and balanced coverage of its Persian-language TV of events in Iran and the wider region."

BBC Persian television has been subject to increasing and aggressive jamming from within Iran. The channel has suffered deliberate attempts to interfere with its signal intermittently since its launch in 2009. The interference intensified on the evening Saturday 17 September just as the channel had begun broadcasting a documentary about Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

In a BBC statement on 7 September 2011, Peter Horrocks, Director BBC Global News, condemned the jamming and said: "We call on those of influence to do all they can to impress upon Iran the illegal nature of the jamming and the need to cease this activity immediately."

Liliane Landor expressed concern about the situation of the six documentary filmmakers detained in Iran, saying: "Our thoughts are with the filmmakers and their families."

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